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All about fillings

A dental filling is used to fill a cavity (a hole that has formed in your teeth) or other damage such as a chipped tooth.

Without treatment, a cavity or chipped tooth can lead to toothache, bad breath, infection, and even the fracturing or loss of your teeth.

Cavities get bigger over time, so the sooner they’re spotted and filled, the less likely you are to have problems later. That’s why regular check-ups are important.

The most common type of fillings are amalgam fillings. For more visible areas of the mouth, your dentist may recommend composite fillings, which more closely match the colour of your teeth.

Reasons for needing a tooth filling

 

How do you know if you need a dental filling?

People of all ages, even young children, may need a tooth filling. You might have signs of tooth decay such as a nagging toothache, sudden pain when you bite down or sensitivity to hot and cold. You may even have noticed a cavity, or food getting caught in a damaged tooth.

If you have chipped or fractured your tooth it’s also important to see your dentist, who may recommend a filling.

What kind of fillings are available?

There are a range of fillings available. The type of treatment you need will depend on a range of factors, including the amount of damage and which tooth is affected. Your dentist will talk through the most suitable options with you before going ahead with any treatment:

If the tooth cavity is very deep, or the centre of your tooth is damaged, you may need root canal treatment to avoid having the tooth out. Although often called ‘root canal fillings’, these aren’t the same as a standard filling.

How are dental fillings placed?

What should you do after you’ve had a filling?

If you have local anaesthetic, your gums, tongue, cheeks and even your lips will feel numb for a while. Until this wears off, you may have difficulty talking, chewing and drinking. As sensation returns, you may feel some tingling. Avoid chewing on that side for a while, partly to protect your filling but also to prevent accidentally biting yourself.

For up to a week after your filling, your tooth may be more sensitive to cold and heat. If it gets much worse or goes on for longer, tell your dentist – this could indicate changes to the nerve, which may need treatment.

How can you avoid fillings in the future?

Dental fillings are a very good way to repair tooth cavities, and they can stop toothache while preventing further tooth decay. But it’s much better to avoid tooth fillings in the first place. You can help to do this, by following dental advice:


Find your local Bupa Dental Care practice below:

Other ways to restore damaged teeth

If you have damaged teeth, there are several options to help restore them.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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